A famous rugby league personality is in town.
Toa Samoa and N.R.L. coach, Matt Parish, was an interested spectator at Marist Lotopa yesterday during the Toa Gas Rugby League Nines.
Parish is in Samoa to look at some of the local players as Toa Samoa gears up for the Rugby League World Cup next month.
“I came here to have a look at the local talents here,” he told the Sunday Samoan.
“It has been a very good tournament so far I‘ve seen today, and very good players.”
But developing local talents now is far from his mind.
His immediate focus is to assemble a strong team for the World Cup.
Parish said a lot of the players are still involved in the N.R.L. finals and the Super League competitions so he doesn’t have a final list just yet.
“So far I have been impressed with some of the players here in this tournament,” he said.
“If these guys aren’t lucky enough to make the cut in the final World Cup Squad, certainly three or four of these boys will be playing in a curtain raiser match against Scotland for a chance to showcase their talents at another level.”
Toa Samoa has a proud history and they will be heading into the World Cup with high hopes. Their success in the 2014 Four Nations tournament is still fresh in the memory bank.
“We had an awesome team with quality players and that’s the same tactic we are looking to cater for our Toa Samoa team for this year’s World Cup.”
So when are we likely to know who is in the team?
“Not until the grand final of N.R.L,” he said.
“But obviously there are some players that can get picked for Australia New Zealand and Samoa, so we have to wait to see where those guys are going to get picked.”
One of the challenges is that Australia and New Zealand have first option on the players.
“So guys like Josh McGuire and Anthony Milford can get picked for Australia while Isaac Liu can picked for New Zealand,” he said.
Toa Samoa is in the pool of death alongside New Zealand, Tonga and Scotland.
“We need to be tough to play those teams and it’s a mighty challenge to play those nations. We are looking forward to it and we want to make sure we make all Samoans around the world proud.”
The Toa Samoa squad is scheduled to be in Samoa next month for their final preparations before the tournament kicks off.